This year’s Navy Wings Ambassadors’ Dinner held at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London on 7 November 2019 was a sell-out success raising an impressive £80,000 to support the Charity in its work restoring and flying a collection of some of the Nation’s oldest and most iconic historic naval aircraft. Attended by 280 distinguished guests including Ambassadors, major donors, members of the Sea Harrier community and business leaders from across the aviation and aviation heritage sectors, the prestigious black tie fundraiser was a real standout event for the Charity.
A highlight of the evening was the Auction, with former Christie’s International Fine Art Auctioneer, Hugh Edmeades, helping to realise over £40,000 in the Live Auction including the sale of two spectacular and unique paintings by highly acclaimed leading British artists, Sherree Valentine Daines and Mandy Shepherd. The Blue Ensign flown from HMS Prince of Wales on her maiden voyage sold for £10,000, a luxury fully chartered Sunseeker yacht in the Mediterranean sold for £7,000 and a stunning Sea Harrier Pegasus engine LP1 Fan Boardroom Table sold for £9,000.
Sherree Valentine Daines
The popular and highly successful artist, Sherree Valentine Daines painted an original oil painting of a Swordfish live on the night raising £9,000 in the Auction. Britain’s leading Impressionist, Sherree is one of the most collectable artists working in the UK, with her original paintings almost impossible to come by. Sherree’s work in which bold use of colour and movement evoke nostalgic scenes of British life, from the elegance of Henley Regatta and Ascot, to the children’s seaside outing, are highly appealing and sought after by celebrity art collectors around the world.
Sherree donated the painting to Navy Wings as a tribute to her father, Ralph Valentine Daines, who served as a Telegraphist Air Gunner flying Swordfish from HMS Indefatigable in the Pacific during WW2.
Taking place in the Grand Ballroom with stunning views over Chelsea Harbour and the London skyline, guests heard from former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas about the great British, and British Industry, success story of the Sea Harrier and the remarkable through-life development of the aircraft, leading ultimately to the UK’s F-35 B Lightning jets operating from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas
A short film, narrated by Navy Wings Ambassador, the comedy actor and broadcaster, Chris Barrie – known to legions of fans as the hologram Rimmer in Red Dwarf – highlighted the Sea Harrier’s operational success in the Falklands and its legendary capability as the only aircraft type in the world to have won its own air war.
Introducing guest speakers, Sir Peter Rigby and Mark Fitzgerald, who are restoring a Sea Harrier FA2 and a twin seat Harrier T8 to full flying condition, Admiral Sir George Zambellas said, “Our remarkable aviation heritage means not only looking back – but also looking to the future.”
Guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening which included a champagne reception, delicious dinner and a live band and dancing. The 17 piece Big Band, led by Pete Long, Musical Director of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, was made up of world class musicians who came together especially for the event giving guests a showcase spectacular experience.
”“Our remarkable aviation heritage means not only looking back - but also looking to the future. The story of the Sea Harrier is still being written and Sir Peter and Mark are leading the way as private investors with a selfless passion for preserving these aircraft on behalf of the Nation.Admiral Sir George Zambellas
”“The evening was a landmark event in a transformational year for the Charity" said Communications Director, Sue Eagles. "We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors and everyone who donated so generously on the night. There was a tremendous atmosphere and the total raised was truly magnificent, helping to secure a strong future for the Nation’s historic naval aircraft.”Sue EaglesCommunications Director